Mary Ann Hall - PDCA Meet the Breed Liaison
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City
Report from Rob Gravel
The Pug Dog Club of America returned to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City for the fourth annual AKC Meet the Breeds® event. This year Meet the Breeds moved to a larger section of the Javits center. The expanded event space totaled 160,000 square feet and it was absolutely packed with vendors, veterinarians, dog related clubs, cat clubs and AKC parent breed clubs. It was estimated that more than 40,000 attendees walked through the doors. We literally had thousands of people coming to our booth, petting the Pugs and asking questions. It was incredible!
At the Friday setup we discovered that PDCA Meet the Breed liaison, Mary Ann Hall, helped increase our booth space this year to 20 feet, which was welcome. You can see more of it in our short video. AKC has also put together a website for Meet the Breeds, at MeetTheBreeds.com, with different video, the breed standard, and contact information.
Saturday started off a bit rocky but as usual it all came together. Some of our regular volunteers were truly missed, but they reached out to Catherine Fayen and John Salvador who had purchased one of their pugs and amazingly they drove all the way in so we could have another Pug on display. It was perfect timing because the fur was starting to wear off the four pugs that I had brought along! Then PDCA member Lezlie Dono arrived to help talk to the crowds of pug fanciers. She was in the city on business and found time to break away and help us out.
I had a few minutes to check out some of this year's vendors on Saturday. I was able to pick up a few dog food and treat samples. By Sunday most of the vendors had run out of the thousands of samples they brought with them - another indication of the attendance at this event.
On Sunday we brought three pugs for the booth, and were joined by PDCA member Anne Marie Maenza. Sunday was a little cold outside but it did not stop the masses of people that attended. It was a great day and we spoke to many pug owners and prospective owners. Also on Sunday, PDCA and AKC Board Member Pat Scully joined us after flying home from the Pug National. Pat has such dynamic energy and her time at the booth was both fun and
educational. She has always been an inspiration for me and I am sure the visitors to the Pug booth felt the same way.
Outside the building I met up with Erin Jenks who works for the AKC in the Canine Partners department. She was outside walking her wonderful senior Pug. I asked Erin to please come by the PDCA booth so we can get a picture of her with her pug at the booth. She seemed excited but at the same time a little apprehensive. She then told me that her pug is not any kind of champion and he was rescued by her some years ago and wondered if it was still ok to bring him over?? I replied absolutely!
Before this event I didn't know much about the AKC Canine Partners Program (see? even I can benefit from training!). Many people show us their cell phone photos of their pugs, and while most look like purebred pugs, their owners told us how they had adopted them and had no idea if they were purebred. Some were almost embarrassed to show me pictures because they felt like a “Second Class Citizen” with their not-show-pugs.
The AKC Canine Partners Program is for mixed breed dogs and dogs without papers. They are eligible to participate in all kinds of events, including AKC Rally, Agility, Obedience, Coursing Ability, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, and the AKC Canine Good Citizen. PDCA chapter clubs really benefit from these events by encouraging our love pug owner/members to participate. Thru their dues, donations and hard work, these loving pet owners actively support many of our educational events and shows. This program allows them to participate with their companions.
I just wanted to thank all the following PDCA members that helped to make the PDCA Booth at the 2012 AKC Meet the Breeds a huge success:
Mary Ann Hall for her “behind the scenes” work
Jackie and Al Hofer for sending down Catherine Fayen and John Salvador
Anne Marie Maenza, someone we can always count on
My wife Karen Marenco for her support and hard work